Wisdom Quest

(Hare Krishna Society) – Excerpt from a class by Śrī Prem Prayojan Prabhu on Gauḍīya-darśana, spoken in Alachua (day 3), USA, 6 May 2023. Please see the link for the book in the right colum.

Now, we are coming to some of the meanings of Gauḍīya-darśana. The word darśana comes from dṛś dhātu and lyuṭ pratyaya- the suffix lyuṭ is added to dṛś dhātu, making the word darśana. So this word darśana means ‘avalokana, to observe’. Generally, people think that the word darśana means ‘philosophy’ but actually it means ‘avalokana, to observe’. It means ‘sākṣātkāra, direct experience’, and it also means ‘upalabdhi, to attain, to perceive or to understand’.

Therefore, the word darśana automatically indicates three things: draṣṭā (the seer), dṛśya (the seen) and darśana-kriyā (the act of seeing). Those who are māyāvādīs want to have tripuṭi-vināśa, which means the destruction of these three. So the māyāvāda philosophy cannot be called any kind of darśana. They have no right to say, “This is our kevalādvaita-darśana.” – It is not. “We follow Vedānta darśana.” – No, you don’t follow any darśana at all! Because darśana means draṣṭā (one who sees), dṛśya (one who is seen), and also darśana-kriyā (the act of seeing).

The māyāvādīs accept that the seer, the draṣṭā, is the living entity and the world is his object of vision. So to get liberation they want to destroy this duality. But really the actual draṣṭā is the Supreme Lord.

oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ
sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ
divīva cakṣur ātatam

Ṛg Veda 1.22.20

Just as the sun is shining in the sky, so the eye of the Supreme Lord is upon everyone.

He is the Seer and we are the seen. He is the Enjoyer and we are the enjoyed. Until one adopts a proper relationship with the transcendental truth, there is no darśana. The understanding that ‘I cannot see Him, but He can see me. I am not the enjoyer of Him, I am to be enjoyed by Him’ – that is actual darśana or philosophy.

And then, when one is properly situated in relation with the Supreme Lord,

yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām
Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.2.23

Who can see the Supreme Lord? That person whom the Supreme Lord Himself choses.

When we change our angle of vision from thinking that we are the seer (which is depending on our own merit), to thinking that I am only seen by Him (through his mercy), then when the Supreme Lord glances mercifully on us – that glance infuses us with samvit-śakti, the self-disclosing function of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency and then we are able to have Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s darśana.

These are some of the meanings of the word darśana. It is not philosophy, it is the direct realization of God.

What is Gauḍīya-darśana? In this lecture Prabhupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said, “My Śrīla Gurudeva, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Prabhupāda did not introduce himself as a Gauḍīya. And there were many reasons for this. First of all, if someone says Gauḍīya means ‘a person from Gauḍadeśa’, why would my Gurudeva introduce himself as being a material being from a material geographical location? No, he would never do that”. So what does Gauḍīya mean? A worshipper of Viṣṇu is called a vaiṣṇava. A worshipper of Kṛṣṇa is called a kārṣṇa. And one who is one-pointed in the service of Gaurī (that is Rādhārāṇī) is called a Gauḍīya.

Prabhupāda said that his guru Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Prabhupāda never even introduced himself as a Gauḍīya because a Gauḍīya is something very extraordinary and beyond this world. So he would introduce himself as the dāsānudāsānudāsa of a Gauḍīya.

What is this Gauḍīya? Prabhupāda gives the example in the Catuḥślokī Bhāgavatam. There it is said:

yathā mahānti bhūtāni
bhūteṣūccāvaceṣv anu
praviṣṭāny apraviṣṭāni
tathā teṣu na teṣv aham
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.9.35

Just as the material elements enter into every object and also exist outside, so I am also within and outside of everything.

This verse is not really a discussion of metaphysical principles or the ontology of elements. The discussion of the ontology of the elements is a metaphor to describe prema. It is about love. It is describing the state of prema in which the viṣaya-tattva is both inside the āśraya-tattva and outside the āśraya-tattva. This is Gauḍīya-darśana.


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Do you know the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya? Think again.


by Prabhupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur

Finally, the chance to read what is perhaps the greatest lecture of the 20th century.

Translation and Śrī Sarasvatī-toṣaṇī Commentary by Śrī Prema Prayojana dāsa

Release date 22nd April 2023



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The profound glory of bhakti-tattva, carried upon the fragrant breeze of Prabhupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s speech, has appeared to touch the heart of every devotee and awaken ineffable wonder.

Expressing his astonishment, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī

Mahārāja has commented:

“Although at the beginning of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s speech the churning of the subject of sphoṭa may seem to be somewhat technically challenging, as his discourse progresses, it appears just as if someone is distributing without restraint the vast treasure of profound realizations from the storehouse of his personal bhajana.

“I have unflinching conviction that, upon reading this Gauḍīya-darśana, all impartial faithful seekers will recognize the divine splendour of the Śrī Brahma-Madhva-Gauḍīya Sampradāya and not fail to be intensely attracted. Moreover, committed Gauḍīya devotees will comprehend the inestimable wealth of their own sampradāya and, becoming imbued with its divine dignity, feel immense pride in their glorious ācāryas.”

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